A larger flock?
Setting up Saturday markets in country churches is a way of helping farmers which is being considered by the dioceseís first rural officer, who started work this week. Canon Leslie Morley, who was licensed by the Bishop of Knaresborough, the Rt Revd Frank Weston, on Tuesday, says his part-time post has been created in response to increasing diocesan concern about rural issues. He said "at a diocesan open day on rural issues last month, before I officially started work, I was immediately made aware of the concerns facing farmers - particularly the gap between farm-gate prices and what people pay in supermarkets. Encouraging farmersí markets, possibly in churches, seems a good way forward. The Church has a presence in every farming community - in some areas it is even a tourist attraction."
Canon Morley grew up in the diocese, in Harrogate, and went to school in Knaresborough. He has been ordained for thirty years, and has moved back with his wife Georgina from Nottingham, where he was Rector of St. Peterís. He is impressed, he says, by the support offered by the dioceseís urban areas. "At this open day I felt reassured that people from the city of Leeds had come to offer support to those struggling in rural areas. The farming crisis is just one problem: there are other issues, such as transport, housing and general poverty. Our diocese has enormous stretches of countryside." He believes in consumer responsibility, and will be encouraging people to buy British, and create a "fairer system - rather as the Church has done over fair-trading in the Third World".