On Sunday, February 10, I gave a sermon called: “The Garden Grows the Community.”
The idea of creating a community garden was introduced in part as a response to what I saw happening in the Children’s Religious Education (RE) Program and in part as a way to live our mission: Grow in Wonder, Connect in Love, Engage in Service, Inspire Generosity.
So now that we’re in October and the summer growing season has almost come to an end, I wanted to share with you some of what did happen.
We grew in wonder and squash! We tried a different planting technique called straw bale gardening. There were several advantages to using straw bale. They acted like raised beds, being more visible and easier on the back. They were easy to prepare and maintain. What did we learn? Don’t put more than a couple of plants per bale, and if planting tomatoes, stake them before they grow too big. We also learned the power of a couple of squash plants. They could produce over 100 squash but also overwhelm the nearby tomatoes, potatoes and peppers. We gazed in wonder at the bees, birds, butterflies, squirrels and deer that visited the garden, pollinating and feasting.
We connected in love each Wednesday evening when food for the potluck was made from our own garden vegetables. New recipes were tried and shared. On Sunday mornings, the weekly harvest went home with members and visitors, spreading the love organically.
There were many times that our congregants were able to engage in service with the garden. People helped to plant the garden, and many people took turns watering over the long hot summer months. Our summer RE Program offered others a chance to share their talents with the children. From an initial blessing of the garden to making benches, a labyrinth, mosaic garden stones, music and art.
I think the garden itself inspired generosity each time it produced more than we could use ourselves. Produce was given to neighbors walking by and to many different people outside of our fellowship who attended meetings here. Veggies were given to the Boys and Girls Club as well. It also inspired our members to be generous with supplies and time. We had many donations of both.
Some people have asked what they can do to get involved with the garden. We still need people to water. If you are over at the fellowship and the soil looks dry, please water. Once the plants die down, we will need people to do some clean up. Most of all we need people to plan for next year, bringing their ideas and energy. Inch by inch, row by row, we did indeed make this garden grow. Let’s see where it goes (and grows) from here!