Sean Barrett: St. Peter’s Lutheran Church dedicates community garden
Following the regular worship service at 10:30am on May 31, those gathered made their way across the street to dedicate the new garden ministry at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Salisbury. The dedication included scripture readings from Isaiah 58:6-10, James 2:14-26 and Matthew 25:31-46. The readings served to remind those gathered that part of what God’s mission is that the hungry be fed. Following the dedication service, everybody present enjoyed a covered dish meal together outside next to the garden. It was a time where disciples of all ages were able to come together, pray for God’s blessings and share a meal.
The garden ministry came about because of the work of the Holy Spirit at St. Peter’s. The disciples gathered at St. Peter’s believe that God is at work in the world. God is on a mission to redeem all of creation. Part of God’s mission is to feed those who hunger. Since God is alive and active in the world, the question becomes: How can we participate in what God is already doing? St. Peter’s sits on about 13 acres of land. This land, along with the knowledge of farming and gardening that many at St. Peter’s possess, formed the initial vision that would eventually bring the new garden ministry into existence. The garden ministry represents the gifts of God’s people (available land and knowledge of farming) being brought into part of God’s mission (feeding the hungry). St. Peter’s looks forward to many years of serving those who hunger in our community with this ministry.
There are many blessings to this garden. One significant blessing is to the disciples gathered at St. Peter’s. This ministry is intergenerational. Even at the dedication service, there were people who are infants and people who are in their mid-90s. It is not unusual to see grandparents and parents working with their children in the garden. In this way, disciples of all ages are invited to serve God together. As they serve together, the bonds of the family and the congregation grow stronger. The love between the people at St. Peter’s increases as they seek to serve those in their community.
Another blessing is for those in our local area. Many diseases such as diabetes and heart disease have been linked to poor diet. Many people living in poverty in the Salisbury area do not have the means to afford fresh quality produce. St. Peter’s is committed to making a positive difference in Salisbury and the surrounding area.
The purpose of the garden ministry is to glorify God by growing fresh, healthy produce and then give it away to places like Rowan Helping Ministries and Nazareth Children’s home. Those who are hungry will have access to produce that is absolutely free. This is a tangible way that St. Peter’s is impacting the community around it. The disciples at St. Peter’s believe that God calls God’s people to show God’s love to the world in ways that impact lives.