Most of the congregations of the Episcopal Church seem to be working hard behind the scenes to get ready as parishioners return from summer vacations, children return to regular Sunday formation programs and the congregations get back into the rhythm of regular church life. Perhaps that's why there's slim pickings this week when we scan the secular press for news of the Episcopal Church. We're all so busy getting ready for the next 9 months that most o the work of the church is happening where the world can't see it.
But there are stories of two congregations worth noting.
First there's an account of how St. Elizabeth's in Farragut Tenn. is a shining example of a growing trend of community gardens. According to an article posted, there are now more than 18,000 different community gardens in the United States. They take all sorts of forms.
"St. Elizabeth's Episcopal Church in Farragut planted it's own version of a community garden last spring as well. Church member John Tomlinson got the idea two years ago after being inspired by a sermon. This year church members built nine raised planting beds, and cultivated about one-third acre of land next to the chuch's sanctuary.
'A lot of tomatoes, a lot of peppers. We planted a crop of corn expecting about 1,000 ears. We got 300,' said Tomlinson.
The church gives the produce to the food bank at Farragut Christian Church and to Iva's place, a shelter for battered women. They call it an outreach garden.
'The food we have left over, we're working with the Volunteer Ministry Center in Knoxville to prepare meals for the homeless,' said Tomlinson.
The Church plans to grow a garden again next year, after preparing compost piles and getting healthier soil over the winter. They hope to grow even more food than they did this year."
And then there's this piece about how a congregation in International Falls is warming peoples hearts with the gift of a solar cooker:
Members of Holy Trinity Church chose to raise funds to purchase solar cookers for women of poverty with this year’s dinner. Last year the dinner raised money for the International Falls homeless shelter called Servants of Shelter.
[...]All money collected from the dinner effort minus the cost of food will be sent to Episcopal Relief and Development — the national relief agency of the Episcopal Church of America. It provides relief and development funds to people of poverty globally and in the United States. ERD will determine where solar cookers are most needed.
Good on both of these congregations for reminding of this Labor Day of how the Episcopal Church is reaching out across the country supporting people in need and making a difference in people's everyday lives.