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Garden plots as mission beds

Garden plots as mission beds

A Grand Rapids, Michigan, congregation, Holy Cross Episcopal Church, figures as a major player in the involvement of mission with local Bhutanese refugees. By setting up a garden space, Holy Cross has created a space in which refugees with limited or nonexistent English can come and work.

“We dug up the prayer labyrinth to make this garden,” said Audrey Kelly, 24, the VISTA volunteer who recruited Holy Cross. “If you look through these pathways, this is a prayer labyrinth of sorts. These people know what they’re doing.”

Holy Cross, with help from the Bhutanese, plowed the land, installed fencing and provided water. Since then, the church has hosted Bhutanese parties and ESL classes, parishioners have given assistance, including winter coats and transportation, and a few Bhutanese, who are Hindu, have attended worship services.

The involvement meets a goal to serve the neighborhood, said Ross Mast, senior warden of the church of about 70 people.


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John D. Andrews

I was just talking with an AmeriCorps member with Lincoln Nebraska’s Community Crops which provides garden plots for anyone, but started as a program for refugees and immigrants. We were talking about my church, the Church of the Holy Trinity in Lincoln, providing garden space for their organization. I was already going to talk with our Community Ministry Committee about this, but now I’m really motivated and see how other programs, i.e., ESL classes could become a part of this. COOL!


Until this short blurb of an article, I didn’t know there were “Bhutanese refugees”.

[Bhutan? Isn’t that the place w/ the “Gross National Happiness”? Yes, it is . . . unless you’re a Nepalese-speaking Hindu, and then you got ethnically-cleansed in the 1990s. Oy vey: I don’t think “60 Minutes” covered that part of the story.]

Thank you, Episcopal Cafe, for giving me another unexpected window on our blessed, messed-up world.

God bless the gardens of Holy Cross, Grand Rapids, and all who tend them.

JC Fisher

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