This post is written and offered by Deacon Linda Lee and the community at St. Timothy’s Church in Brookings.
From AFM paper on Rogation Day liturgy…
At St. Timothy’s in Brookings, Oregon, we always have a large contingent of people seeking shelter on our campus whether during COVID days or all the days prior. I have watched the various reactions of both our housed congregation members and our more at-risk community members and feel that a Community Garden space would be very valuable way to bring our diverse community together. Such a space could offer a safe, beautiful, fun and productive place to come together and share a common purpose.
Although never required to “work for meals” it would be wonderful if there was a purposeful activity that our at-risk community might enjoy participating in. Rather than a typical community garden that rents its raised beds for annual individual use these garden beds will be made available to the five parishes that have provided weekly community meals for years here in Brookings. They will be able to grow fresh produce for their use. Perhaps we can designate a raised bed to grow vegetables for the Food Bank, and a raised bed for cut flowers for the altar guild’s use. It would be wonderful is for our neighbors on Fir Street who do not always look on us kindly would choose to come participate in our Community Garden project. There are so many opportunities for fellowship and even garden art projects for those who are less inclined to dig in the dirt.
Our very first raised bed will be approximately 12×4 and be built on the terrace directly below the Greenhouse. The Altar Guild has provided a newly retired altar cloth which will be buried beneath the brand-new soil. The plan will be for Fr. Bernie to bless our first raised bed as soon as it is ready. The tradition in the Episcopal Church with any special linens or fabric cloths that are no longer in use it is to either burn them or bury them. What a perfect place to lay a beloved retired altar covering than beneath a lovely community garden bed!
And so my goal is ‘community building’ within the church and within the greater neighborhood rather than merely growing vegetables and flowers. And so to celebrate and bless our progress, I am creating a liturgy for a Rogation Day Sunday. How joyous to process out mid service to the Garden for a formal blessing of the garden beds for Spring planting season. At fall harvest we can bring our baskets of produce to the Altar as a thanksgiving offering.
And now we are in the COVID era and must navigate inertia and angst…the focus of my assignments for your leadership class. But this will end in time and so I am feeling my way to keep positive activity as a visual even if we cannot work all together in the Garden right now. My hope for the Community Garden for mid 2021 at this point is to have the basic construction accomplished which would include…2-3 raised beds, a bench or two, the big boundary fence and gate which has to be built by a professional and the placement of our signage.
Our Hope and Intentions Are To:
- Engage and Build Community
- Provide Fun Group Activities
- Inspire Garden Art Activities
- Grow Vegetables and Flowers
- Provide Fellowship Activities For Everyone
Raised Garden Beds Are For:
- St. Timothy’s Congregation & Friends
- Community Kitchens and Brookings Food Bank
- Fir Street Neighborhood
2020 Goals – Excavation by Bill Russell- RJ Tractor Service for terracing with rock and gravel and bark chip path
Good News Gardens
The community garden at St. Timothy’s is a part of a larger project within The Episcopal Church to create Good News Gardens. The mission of a Good News Garden is: “to partner with people in transformational agrarian ministry that feeds body, mind, and spirit.”
Good News Gardens focus on three things: Plant, Pray, Proclaim. By joining the Good News Garden community, you join a large community of gardeners and evangelists in The Episcopal Church.
“Bountiful God, you call us to labor with you in tending the earth: Where we lack love, open our hearts to the world; where we waste, give us discipline to conserve; where we neglect, awaken our minds and wills to insight and care. May we with all your creatures honor and serve you in all things, for you live and reign with Christ, Redeemer of all, and with your Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.”