Christian Ecology Link
Donate now
Help us in our work
Join CEL

 Home   About Us    Events   Resources    Issues    Ideas    Links   Abroad   News + Archive  
CEL home >

Issues and campaigns > LOAF
To download this web page as a word file for printing click here

‘One Bread' Service of Worship Resource Materials

‘Ingredients for a LOAF service'

Jo Rathbone has compiled these resources for CEL. We have been given copyright permission to reproduce material here, but if you use the material, please give give the relevant credits when you use it. Thank you.


Pick and choose from these ingredients to create your own Service. You could also use prayers and the LOAF commitment from the ‘One Bread' Service of Worship material.


Try making bread in the service! Well, when I tried it I made the dough at home and it had already risen for an hour before I let the children loose on kneading it into shapes at the beginning of the service. Then we left it to rise again, and managed to get it in the oven, in time to share over coffee! You could try a quicker recipe, such as Irish soda bread, or a single rise loaf.



•  Before the service, ask some young people to do some research and let the congregation know where are the places that local food can be purchased: farmers' markets, WI markets, greengrocers who buy locally, farm shops, veg box suppliers.

  1. Get people to suggest a favourite meal and write it up on a flip chart or OHP. See if they have any idea of where things might have come from. Could you work out the number of food miles from some of the information below:

Go into any supermarket during the fruit and vegetable season and you will find apples from the USA & Canada (4,700 miles), onions from Australia and New Zealand (over 12,000 miles), carrots from South Africa (5,100 miles) or beans from Kenya (3,600miles).

Every iceburg lettuce flown from Los Angeles uses 127 calories for every calorie of lettuce. Every carrot calorie from South Africa uses 66 calories in fuel. The average supermarket trolley of food has now travelled 3000 miles.

We move 333 million tonnes of food across the UK, generating 41.5 billion tonne-kilometres. each year. Food accounts for 29 per cent of UK freight mileage. In the past 20 years there has been a doubling in food-related tonne-kilometres travelled by road. In the past ten years there has also been a 33 per cent increase in the length of shopping trips (to over 880 miles per person per year) much food related.

Airfreight of food has expanded significantly, partly because air fuel is not taxed. Flying food by air uses nearly 40 times the amount of fuel that sea transport uses, yet is now a regular feature of world trade. World Food Trade has increased twice as fast as population has risen over the past 20 years.

In the UK , the distance that food is transported by road increased by 50 per cent between 1978 and 1999.

The low costs of fuel that allow this sort of travel mask other costs which:

•  Put small scale producers out of production

•  Divert land in other countries from supplying local people to providing export crops

•  Exploit fossil fuel resources unnecessarily, thus contributing to global warming

•  Pollute the land, air and water

Most foods require additional packaging and treatment in order to arrive in prime condition.

"Food miles" (or kilometres) is a way of measuring the amount your food travels before it arrives in front of you. Food miles are the distance your food travels 'from the plough to the plate.'

From the Sustainable Food Guide, © copyright by permission of epaw ltd (environmental practice at work)

Supermarket Psalm

This psalm could be read by two individuals, or by two halves of a congregation. Youth groups might enjoy performing it for the congregation.

A: Creator God, we praise you for the abundant variety of food here: twenty varieties - just of rice.

B: It's wonderful to see food from all over the world spread out on the supermarket shelves: food grown in many places.

A: But why is the fruit so uniform and clean? How many times has it been sprayed?

B: It worries me that small farmers suffer from supermarket demands; that they go out of business and cry for justice.

A: When I buy cheap food, how many workers do I dishonour: When I buy food from far away, how many workers have been cheated?

B: And there is so much packaging: the land will soon be full of rubbish, and remain unchanged for many generations.

A: There is so much there I fear the temptation to buy too much, to be greedy and only feasting.

B: Thank you for the growth of the Fairtrade movement and for organic food: practical justice for people and land.

A: Thank you for all the work behind the scenes: food from farms to shelves.

B: Help us to honour your creation in the way we shop, and to remember to take a reusable shopping bag.


© Chris Polhill, from Eggs and Ashes: Practical & liturgical resources for Lent and Holy Week, Ruth Burgess & Chris Polhill, 2004, Wild Goose Publications, Glasgow G2 3DH.




Plant some seeds in some pots, in organic, non-peat compost! Traditionally working with children this has been mustard and cress in an egg shell. Why not plant things that people can then take home and plant out in the garden or in a tub, and eat! What you plant will depend on the time of year. It could be herbs to be grown on a windowsill, or tomato and pepper plants to be grown in a flower or vegetable bed in the garden.

Organic issues…

There are two main concerns. Farms now use vast amounts of chemicals, as fertilisers and pesticides, plus increasing quantities of energy, particularly fossil fuels. For every calorie of energy in food that is derived from the sun, between four and ten calories are added from petrochemicals. Increasingly, these artificial components replace the natural systems, including people's skills, for producing food. One of the consequences is that fewer crops are grown in ever larger units of production in order to make 'economies of scale'. The costs in terms of long term fertility of the soil and contamination of the environment are not counted. It is clear that this sort of farming is not sustainable as the resources it uses are finite and will run out in the next 100 years. The concern is that by the time we recognise the limitations, will the earth be capable of providing what we want?

The second concern is whether the food that is produced using so many artificial inputs is good for us. People are worried about the pesticide or veterinary product residues remaining in the food and in the relatively narrow range of nutrients left in the food.

'Organic farming' takes local soil fertility as a key to successful production. The natural capacity of plants and animals is encouraged to improve the quality of all aspects of agriculture and the environment. Organic farmers rely on life processes - hence 'organic'.

'Organic' food commonly means food that is free from artificial fertilisers or pesticides. However, the organic standards governing products claiming to be 'organic', also cover related concerns, such as animal welfare and being GM free.

From the Sustainable Food Guide, © copyright by permission of epaw ltd (environmental practice at work)


Take in a variety of egg boxes: free range, farm fresh, barn, battery/caged birds. Look closely at the information given on the egg boxes. How clear is it whether hens are kept in battery cages or given freedom to roam?


Animal welfare issues…

To reduce overheads, and maximise production, animals are confined and constrained in ways that are not conducive to their well-being. Farmers argue that if the conditions are not conducive, then the animals would not perform properly.

Over-crowding and poor environmental conditions make livestock more vulnerable to disease, this requires increased use of antibiotics.

Other examples associated with intensive and over-crowded conditions include the problem of pecking by chickens and turkeys. Most commercially reared poultry will have their beaks clipped to stop them damaging other birds.

Pigs, which like to roam the ground, are often kept in confined pens, breathing hydrogen sulphide and ammonia from excrement and urine. Sows in gestation stalls and farrowing crates cannot turn around.

From the Sustainable Food Guide, © copyright by permission of epaw ltd (environmental practice at work)


Prayer of reconciliation


Lord, all living creatures are yours,

blessed by you.

Yet we herd and pen them

as if we had created them.

They have no life

apart from our allowing.

Yet in spite of our ‘efficiency'

many people are hungry.


Have mercy.


Lord, we pray for empathy

for your creatures' needs:

for community, companionship,

and freedom from distress.

Help us to pay heed to our call

to tend and nurture;

help us to co-operate with you

and be your image for them.



© Wild Goose Publications, from Eggs and Ashes: Practical and liturgical resources for Lent and Holy Week, Ruth Burgess & Chris Polhill, 2004, Wild Goose Publications, Glasgow G2 3DH.



Why not have (fairly traded!) coffee in the service rather than after the service? Drink to good conditions of employment, good prices for commodities, improving livelihoods for the producers and the ability to diversify. Seeing this as part of our worship implies that we need to pray as we shop. Say the blessing before everyone departs.



God, food of the poor;

Christ our bread,

give us a taste of the tender bread

from your creation's table;

bread newly taken

from your heart's oven,

food that comforts and nourishes us.

A fraternal loaf that makes us human

joined hand in hand,

working and sharing.

A warm loaf that makes us a family;

sacrament of your body,

your wounded people.


© From workers in community soup kitchens in the shanty towns of Lima , Peru . One of the 'Psalms for Life and Peace' that first appeared in the journal Paginas ; reprinted in Latinamerica Press and published in Bread of Tomorrow – praying with the world's poor Edited by Janet Morley SPCK/Christian Aid 1992



As we prepare to leave

and embrace the challenges

of our lives and our world,

let us ask for God's blessing.


May God bless us with strength

to seek justice. Amen.


May God bless us with wisdom

to care for our earth. Amen.


May God bless us with love

to bring forth new life. Amen.


In the name of God, the maker of the whole world,

of Jesus, our new covenant,

and of the Holy Spirit, who opens eyes and hearts. Amen.


Go in peace and be witnesses to hope.

Thanks be to God.


© From Building a New World , Share Lent Project 1991 (Canadian Catholic Organisation for Development and Peace) and published in Bread of Tomorrow – praying with the world's poor Edited by Janet Morley SPCK/Christian Aid 1992

Songs for a LOAF service

from Common Ground:


For the fruits of all Creation 34

God's will for Creation 44

Praise God for the Harvest 102

Touch the earth lightly 134

We lay our broken world 143


‘One Bread'

‘One Bread' has material for a Service of Worship based on the LOAF principles. It is available on CEL's website, or in printed form from CEL Resources, 40 The Avenue, Roundhay, Leeds LS8 1JG.


‘One Bread' includes:


•  A new LOAF song: ‘Gospel Joy' -- words to be sung to the tune of ‘Lord of the Dance'.

•  An Act of Commitment to the LOAF principles

•  Prayer for Forgiveness,

•  Intercessions

•  A blessing based on a Jewish thanksgiving used after meals.


These ‘Ingredients for a LOAF Service' were compiled for CEL by Jo Rathbone.

  To download this web page as a word file for printing click here


to top of page

Copyright ©    2012 Christian Ecology Link

  What's on?    Ideas    About CEL     Resources    Magazine    Links   
Conservation    Prayer guide   Search    Sitemap    email CEL