Disciple: Stories of Youth Engaged in Creation Care
Charlie’s Garden: An Intergenerational Project
St. Mary’s House at UNC-Greensboro dedicates garden to beloved chaplain
When the Rev. Charlie Hawes, the chaplain at St. Mary’s House for more than 20 years, died last year, checks started coming in to honor his memory. It was enough money that the St. Mary’s House Steering Committee knew they had to use it for some project to honor his memory. Our student members suggested a community garden.
[Image: Students at St. Mary’s House planted a community garden in memory of a former chaplain. Photo by the Rev. Rick Sigler]
The project got quick approval from Charlie’s widow, Faith, and the Rev. Rick Sigler, deacon at St. Mary’s House, took charge of organizing it. He applied to UNC-Greensboro’s Green Grants program and received additional money to buy two large container beds (tall enough for people with mobility issues to participate), tools, lots of dirt and seedlings. After a few Saturday workdays, lots of trips to home improvement stores, brush, leaves and a few more trips to the farmer’s market for plants, Charlie’s Garden was born! While students are away during the summer, adult members of the St. Mary’s House community will take responsibility for tending the tomatoes, peppers, onions, broccoli and herbs.
Where will the food go? Sad to say, UNC-Greensboro has a large student population that is food insecure, so much so that one of our fellow campus ministries runs a permanent pantry that, thankfully, has refrigerators for fresh produce grown in other community gardens across campus.
No one at St. Mary’s House claims to be a great gardener; it is all a matter of collective wisdom, advice from the county extension website, and trial and error. Who knew tomatoes and basil do well when grown together? Now we all do.
- By the Rev. Kevin Matthews
Fundraising for Families
St. Mark’s children raise money for Heifer International
The children of St. Mark’s, Huntersville, took part in a fundraiser for Heifer International as part of the church’s Creation Care initiative. They collected change with their families for a month to raise funds to buy different livestock for communities in need.
To kick off the fundraiser, the children read the story “Beatrice’s Goat” by Page McBrier in Sunday School to learn different animal facts. They then got to decorate their own collection jar to make the fundraiser fun and more personal. Each day they collected change had a different theme. One example: “Monday - Bees: Honeybees are essential to healthy crops, and a healthy beehive can double fruit and vegetable yields due to pollination. Additionally, families can increase incomes from the sale of honey, wax and pollen. Where’s the honey jar? Add 25 cents for every jar of honey in your kitchen.”
[Image: A collection of piggy banks filled with donations for Heifer International by the children of St. Mark’s, Huntersville. Photo by Brandy Saltzman]
This first year, the children raised $200, which allowed them to buy one flock of chicks, two swarms of honeybees, one trio of rabbits, and one set of tree seedlings! They hope to fundraise again soon and would like to involve the whole church next time. The goal is to raise $5000 for A Gift Ark, which includes two water buffalo, two cows, two sheep and two goats, along with bees, chicks, rabbits and more.
Heifer International works in 19 countries around the world alongside local farmers and business owners. Heifer International supports farmers and their communities as they mobilize and envision their futures, and provides training so farmers can improve the quantity and quality of the goods they produce as well as connections to market to increase sales and incomes.
- By Brandy Saltzman
Keeping Charlotte Beautiful
St. Martin’s teens beautify the city
At St. Martin’s, Charlotte, parish teens have adopted the streets around the church property through the Keep Charlotte Beautiful program. They don’t stop there, as they also took part in a neighborhood cleanup on the Sunday after Easter as well as the annual garden workday at Galilee Ministries of East Charlotte.
They did the same thing last year, when, in celebration of Earth Day, a group of 20 St. Martin’s youth and adults participated in a workday in the gardens and on the grounds at Galilee Ministries. They dug trenches and removed debris from the fig orchard, creating a pathway for irrigation, and planted flowers along the fence line and among the blueberry bushes in the Galilee Green on the front lawn.
[Image: The youth of St. Martin’s, Charlotte, transform the grounds during the 2022 Galilee Ministries workday. Photo by Vickie Traynum]
The Way of the Cross
St. Alban’s Eagle Scout builds outdoor stations of the cross
Winding through the woods behind St. Alban’s, Davidson, near the SEEDS community garden, you will find a year-round Stations of the Cross built along a tranquil path perfect for reflection and prayer. The path includes all 14 traditional stations and is a gift to the church from Eagle Scout Cole Fossett. While a junior in 2022, Fossett worked with a team of volunteers to construct the project, which the congregation dedicated on Good Friday of that year.
Due to the size and scope of the project, the original plan was for Fossett to start the build during two parish work days, then leave the rest for parishioners to finish over time. Instead, he and his large crew of St. Alban’s volunteers wrapped up their work (minus a few finishing touches) across two Saturdays during the waning days of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This was, however, more than just a completion of a big project; it was also striking reminder of the power of Beloved Community,” the Rev. Kevin Lloyd reflected shortly after the project’s completion.
[Image: Cole Fossett built a prayer trail and outdoor Stations of the Cross for St. Alban’s, Davidson, as his Eagle Scout project. He’s pictured here with the Rev. Carmen Germino, rector.]
With its proximity to St. Alban’s community garden, the prayer trail serves not only as a formation resource for the congregation but also as an invitation to deeper engagement for community members who tend their garden beds. It is a mission strategy triple threat: Creation Care, Formation and Congregational Vitality.
Tags: North Carolina Disciple