Adding to the flock
31 July 2019 IN: Parish News
When Revd Aaron Jackman and his wife Gemma moved to Dobcross a couple of years ago to begin his curacy in the Saddleworth Team, they had some unconventional ideas for getting to know the community.
Inspired by Gemma and her passion for animals, the couple asked a local landowner for permission to graze sheep on the fields next door to vicarage. They now have 13 ewes, a ram and celebrated the addition of 14 new lambs this season.
As well as looking after the flock, Gemma keeps ducks, chickens and geese on the 9 acre small holding, and makes a modest living by selling poultry and lamb. She is getting used to people wanting to take a peek at the farm and runs tours for Sunday school children where they can pet and feed the animals.
Gemma said, “I worked on a farm in Cambridge while Aaron was studying theology. When we moved here I liked the idea of continuing to work with animals. It’s enriching and earthing to be around livestock and I wanted my children to have that experience. I dragged Aaron along with me and he’s come round to the idea!”
Aaron said, “Because we’re right in the middle of the village, local people get to experience some life and God’s creation right here. It draws them in. School and Sunday schools are coming to visit, and get the chance to hold the animals and celebrate life!
“Having the animals widens the scope of what it means to be a Christian. It’s not just about going to church on a Sunday – there’s a bigger picture of what it means to share in the love of God.
“Caring for creation is part of what it means for me to be a Christian. Living your life in a way that is community focused and sharing what you have with others is part of following Jesus.”