A spectacular structure made by a team of volunteers from a Co Down church has been attracting visitors far and wide.
The church made of hay was constructed by First Rathfriland Presbyterian Church by way of an invitation to its upcoming harvest service ... though hay-fever sufferers can rest easy as the structure is for promotional purposes only.
It was the church’s minister, Rev Trevor Boyd, who first introduced hay sculptures in conjunction with First Rathfriland’s annual harvest service: “We’ve been doing a harvest build for four years – we’ve had teddy bears, cows, this year we’ve went for a church.
“Historically, and still currently, harvest is one of those occasions when people tend to go to church. People will go as a community to worship, they’ll move about each others churches. We thought this year we’d put the church back in the centre of it.”
Of the newly built church, he said: “It’s a bit of a step up from a teddy bear but we have a willing band of workers, so fair play to them for putting this together.
“There was probably about a dozen people of all ages working on it. It took them a day and half to put it on site but they been working at it before that, preparing the windows and things like that.
“You’ve got people involved in the painting, there’s farmers involved with their telehandlers, supplying the straw and putting it into place.
“It’s a relevant way to connect with people, to get their interest and to highlight to them that it’s harvest time and that there’s an opportunity to thank God for the harvest in First Rathfriland.”
Of the structure, which is located around half a mile from the church, Rev Boyd said: “There’s been quite a draw to it, as in other years. People come to it to have their photos taken. People look forward to seeing what’s going to be on the site.
“This year with Storm Ali it was a wee bit later. People thought maybe nothing was going up this year, but we didn’t want to put it up and lose it in the storm, so we waited.”
The Harvest Thanksgiving services take place on Sunday, October 7 at 11.30am and 7pm.
Rev Boyd added: “Our church building will also be open from 3pm to 6pm for the whole community to look at the displays, listen to live music and enjoy some apple tart.”
On Saturday, October 6, a Harvest Praise Night with the New Irish Youth Choir will take place in the church at 7.30pm.