Here is our weekly collection plate, offering some of the good things that Episcopalians and their congregations have done that made the news this past week. And other news fit to print.
After weeks of planning and construction, a new peace pole was officially installed April 20, on the grounds of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Georgetown.__________
Decorated with flowers and adorned with the word “peace” in nine different languages, the symbol of global harmony now stands at the back entrance of the church.
Members of St. Paul’s, as well as students and teachers from the First Steps/Primeros Pasos Childhood Learning Center, gathered behind the house of worship to reflect on peace.
Adding flowers and handmade decorations to the surrounding grounds, students made their own impression on the landmark.
Father Earl Beshears, rector of St. Paul’s, said the pole was originally inspired by a peace movement started in war-torn Palestine. It was placed in front of a school that housed 10 Christians, 10 Jewish students and 10 Muslim students who, through a common goal of peace and harmony, learned to live and play together amidst their religious differences.
A Redford church and a perennial township service organization are working harder to let residents know that there's land waiting for them to grow their own gardens, all they have to do is ask.__________
Greater Redford Community Foundation board member Jim Bailey approached the leadership of St. Elizabeth's Episcopal Church, 26431 West Chicago, to create a garden several years ago. He tilled the sunny back end of the four-acre plot of land to have open for township residents. It's still that way today.
He said there are several reasons to have a community garden, and some are surprising.
“The first is that it produces locally-grown food and we have always given 10 percent of our crop to local food pantries,” Bailey said. “It also feeds into the idea of having a regular farmer's market.”
Sioux Falls Area Community Foundation has chosen the Moving Assistance Program as the winner of its 2009 Community Spirit Award.__________
The program was launched early in 2008 by the Church of the Good Shepherd, an Episcopal parish. The congregation wanted to assist people looking to move to safer, more affordable housing, but who maybe didn’t have a vehicle, packing boxes or someone to help them with the move.
Each Sunday evening, Susan Wright prepares a meal at Trinity Episcopal Church, never knowing whether she'll feed five people or 85. Somehow, there's always plenty.__________
"I just cook a bunch. For some reason we always have enough," she said. "I don't know if it's like the loaves and fishes and multiplies, or what."
She may not feed 5,000 with five fish and two loaves of bread as Jesus Christ does in the gospels, but each week Wright cooks up a feast without dipping into her budget. It's a ministry where church members break bread alongside the community's poor and lonely. Diners can eat for free or leave a donation in a basket at the buffet line.
"You don't have to be poor, you don't have to be needy, you don't have to be homeless to enjoy a meal," Wright said.