Agape Banquet

By Vanessa Elston, Mission Support Officer at Diocese of Southwark

The harvest meal organized by the Nine Elms on the Southbank and hosted at the Rose Community Centre was my first community social gathering since moving onto the Patmore Estate in August and I really appreciated the opportunity to come along, meet people from the area and eat delicious vegetarian food prepared by Be Enriched.

Rev Betsy Blatchley started the evening with an alternative grace, a short reflection for us to express gratitude for all that goes into bringing the food to our plates: from the source of creation; to the farmers and supply chains; right down to those who had cooked the food for us this evening.  Voicing a simple ‘Thank You’ provided an inclusive way of starting the evening together in the spirit of harvest thanksgiving.

Highlights from the evening included being impressed by the young people’s persistence (and willingness to get pretty wet) in the impossible game of apple bobbing, and meeting local residents like Sheila, sharing pictures of the rescue dog she was hoping would fill the gap left by the loss of her last dog.  Our table came together around the harvest festival quiz, where Alastair, from New Covent Garden Market, was able to assist with identifying different varieties of apples and I tried not to give too much away around the questions that the Battersea Fields Team had contributed on harvest festival and the bible. I met people like Harry and Marion, who chair the Savona Residents Association, Glenn who runs the Rose Centre, Kemi Akinola the founder of Be Enriched.  

What I took away, along with the small pot of apple crumble, was a sense of warmth and friendliness, of people who are committed to this area, and of the importance of food and festival at the heart of any community.

The image, and more images of the event, found at