Rooting the Church in Creation and Community

Rooting the Church in Creation and Community

  Joel R. Kurz
  Bethelhem Lutheran Church
  Warrensburg, Missouri

more planting


What was the purpose of your project?

The need we wanted to address was "the distance" that separated us (as a congregation) from our neighbors and their needs, as well as from the soil of sustenance. We sought to improve a footpath through our property and advance the growing and sharing of our community garden. So doing, we could be a better and more visible presence of Christ.
What did you do?

We installed bollards which prevent vehicular entry on the path and filled in the ruts. We continued to grow and share vegetables, made much more effective due to water-line installation and the purchase of needed tools and a storage shed. We put up a sign identifying the garden and are in the process of building a kiosk with a table and bench.
What difference did your project make for participants?

Parishioners and neighbors have come to know one another through interactions in the garden, on the path, and in the subsidized apartment complex where the bulk of the garden produce gets shared. Stereotyped barriers have been broken down, close bonds have been formed, and genuine concern has been demonstrated for body, soul, and spirit.
What did you discover or learn that most surprised you?

The most surprising thing we learned was how enriching it is to inhabit our churchyard in a way that considers the greater and common good of all, whether that's learning the lessons of growth and harvest or entering into continuing relationships with those right next to us we never knew before. God's hospitality extends to and through us all.
What did you learn that you would like to share with others?

Open your eyes and observe your environs. See how you're inhabiting it well and how not at all. Look beyond what's established and known and comfortable and see how you can live in it more fully as people who, with all the rest of Creation and fellow-creatures, can attest in word, work, and worship to the truth that we live by God's generosity.

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